[SM-Discuss] RFC: Removing bloatware

Ismael Luceno ismael at iodev.co.uk
Fri Sep 6 11:19:18 EDT 2019

As you may all remember, I've been playing with musl libc, but also,
with other stuff, to make Source Mage smaller and more efficient in

It all started with dissatisfaction with the results and approaches of
the GNU project. Hacking on GNU software has always been unrewarding
(even if I favour their license), but in recent times it became clear
that these projects are out of control in terms of complexity, and for
no good reason.

Nowadays Sorcery runs fine with MAWK, and even using tools from busybox
(with some exceptions) works, something I was forced to test when
core-utils broke during an update of the box.

Soon, Sorcery will work fine with MKSH instead of BASH, and I'll be
adding explicit support for pax this weekend.

I would like to show a comparison of the results I had:

Path      musl glibc
/bin/cpio 132K 220K
/bin/pax   96K 172K
/bin/tar  408K 700K

These are largely equivalent because it's a minimal configuration, so
there's a huge gain from switching to musl alone.

However, now consider it's possible to replace both cpio and tar by pax,
as it implements the three interfaces.

Similar situation with the shells:
Path      musl glibc
/bin/bash 740K 1.2M
/bin/mksh 212K 324K

Now, my proposal is, let's start to install GNU tools with the G prefix
(and optionally add symlinks), and make the lightweight options the

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